I agree with philosophical standpoints about abstract ideas like happiness, freedom, moral choices, and I believe that happiness is an inwardly directed attitude. Happiness points within and cajoles our conscience. Thus, happy people are prone to help and love other persons. Happiness can lead to actions. Happiness is the perception of reflective subjective values in our psyche forum, and sometimes, just like in the Roman forum architectural display, the environment helps in overhauling our inward values, e.g. our self-esteem or overall vision of the human world.
Happiness depends upon the quality of our thinking and less upon its quantity or thematic content. We can think about seasons and climatic properties that affect humans or we can think about the ecosystem or about the history of civilizations, or simply about the everyday struggles and transient goals. In each of these cases, one can assume the right conclusions instead of the wrong doubts or ideas. The concordance between our thought and actual reality results in a better mastership of our lives – both in action and in feelings. Like this, one can be able to enjoy life better and to agree with reality, through understanding. And if he must do changes to the world, then he knows which path of action is better, projecting happy moments into the future.
When it comes to external harmful circumstances, the quality of our thoughts is very important in order to equilibrate the whole of our psychological life with the over-demanding regnum of necessities. There are many so-called mechanisms of defense, but I think that what matters the most is keeping it all within a frame of calm and realistic happiness, e.g. thinking about the way we did our best and the way we fulfilled our duties (specific for Stoic thought) or the way we faced them avoiding fleeing, which is not a permanent solution. More emphasis upon the joy of being useful – at least a little bit – to others or to oneself. It is about responsibility like ”you’ve made your bed, now lie in it”, but there is a danger of intolerance in applying this idiom because in some situations we cannot build our future by ourselves. Still, we can have a better knowledge of the whole situation.
Elvis Presley quote: “The man who can sing when he hasn’t got a thing, he’s the king of the whole wide world.”
The importance of music
I begin with the lyrics from the song With A Little Help From My Friends:
Lend me your ears and I’ll sing you a song
And I’ll try not to sing out of key
The arts are talking firstly with the senses of the public, and only secondly with their mind or soul/emotivity. Thirdly with their attitudes, values, and ideals. The importance of these realms of one’s personality regarding the reception of the artistic object may vary from person to person, but their magnitude or visible effect relies upon the psychological conversion from sensory perception towards mental associations and interpretations and then towards the judgment of their aesthetic, moral, educational importance.
The artistic process usually comprises a communication order of things – the artist is the emitter and the public is the receptor, and it is a specific communication differing from art to art because the different parts of this dialogue are different and differently engaged in his process. That’s why we talk about visual arts for example.
Thus every art is a close dialogue between 2 persons, intending to nourish and cure or to specifically develop socially accepted and socially desirable skills and visions about things within the consumers’ bodies and minds. I think that everyone knows that every art serves only the subjective individual although it addresses larger parts of the social worlds. Art, just like education is a form of communal eucharistic communion, it intends to organize human beings on a larger scale, making them fitter and more productive and harmonious as social structures by sharing the same informational content within their bodies and minds.
Art is a synergic process, a kind of telling it all at the same time – resounding in people’s psyches. But, just like it happens in every communicational context, people don’t end up having precisely the same images or ideas about some object of art. When we communicate with others, we cannot transmit the intended meaning of our message, but only the verbal form of the concepts with their intonation and sound properties. Taken as smaller unities, even the words themselves cannot be entirely understood by others the way that we do this, let alone the vast differences between our inner felt sense and emotions triggered by them. This art is a public domain, but a very particular and idiosyncratic experience. Apart from a particular mother-tongue being common to a larger group of people, art is another kind of commonality, feeding the senses of one embodied individual in an intense manner, giving a little bit more food for thought than the habitual sensory processes. Literature is slightly different because it uses mediating words for this kind of over-stimulation or overfeeding of our brains.
Like this, the brain is deftly overstimulated or forced to engage in a special dialogue with another world of images, sounds, ideas – and different vectors departing from one sensory cerebral area are aiming at arousing emotions and ideas, agreement or anger within other parts of our brain and sometimes even the will to react. And all these things happen in a huge common temple of culture and civilization.
That’s why, having to choose between the different main stimuli, characteristic to different forms of art, I pick up music as my favorite art. We lend our ears, that is our sensory areas in our brain, in order to become the instruments in this gigantic orchestra of things – where our own brain is connected through senses, imagination, and memory with the rest of the world. We are the soft grass bending under the summer wind just as much as we are the sound of the cars speeding on on a highway. We are a part of others’ people psyche as well. We are connected with the rest of the living beings.
Music is the best form of reenactment in my opinion, and the best form of catharsis too. It is about learned vibrations, it is about ourselves, maybe the only thing that can express raw feelings or emotional states. Words bring to life feelings in an indirect manner while the beauty of music resides in the way it unravels feeling directly from their flowerbed within our brain. Whilst listening, we too are playing at the same time, because our world resonates with the sound of music, it internalizes and externalizes the music. Just like a bunch of sun rays, the music fills our room and our bodies. It is like heavenly bliss to me, a wonder, especially classical music.
My opinion about philosophy in this Information Age.
- Throughout my life experiences and judgments, I arrived at the conclusion that the innermost core of metaphysics and ontological studies is strongly connected with the philosophy of language and with all the interdisciplinary sciences connected with it, such as linguistic anthropology and others. Whenever I doubt an argument, I make use of an etymological dictionary, in order to connect to the missing parts of the whole possible truth for me. Searching for consciousness, of course in an Indo-European context, an idea that was ascribed to humans along the history of languages, I found in the dictionary that con- is:
„word-forming element meaning „together, with,” sometimes merely intensive; it is the form of com- used in Latin before consonants except -b-, -p-, -l-, -m-, or -r-. In native English formations (such as costar), co- tends to be used where Latin would use con-. ”
I know that etymology too is a science, thus being historically evolving, but right now we are talking inside this box of meanings and words about present time. English, Romance languages and Latin have things in common and are highly influential in the last few centuries of thinking when we witnessed this high-speed evolution of diverging sciences and technologies, according to historiography, different than other kinds of evolution in the past millennia of our present civilization. I mean the making and remaking of computers and the Information Age. Thus, consciousness means bringing together different parts of something known or something that we are aware of. That togetherness is marked by the particles co, com, con. It means with, together with.
Different parts of a very sophisticated or enlarged or optimized computer, moreover of a highly performant network of computers can be aware and can know, with their memory and logical abilities of computing within a given frame, within a given set of rules, different science facts and rules or even the whole corpus of knowledge given at a historical time. All these computers know and they can operate, but the endless question is if they can be conscious. If they can integrate the meaning of the whole knowledge of sciences, in order to do something with it.
I agree that conscience is more than awareness, it is the human defined ability to use the awareness, the knowing or science of a thing, in order to reach a conscious goal. One of these goals is understanding something, not merely knowing a fact, that is (in Latin) inter-legere : to gather together. The information memorized into different substrates, either lifeless or alive, can be changed and the whole meaning can be reconstructed with other meanings or understandings. It is the difference between knowing and understanding that stands at the basis of conscience because only a unified intelligent system can be really conscious, and man is such a system, and the word conscience was defined like this, it is a fatum. „The Latin word for fate is „fatum,” which literally means „what has been spoken.” I believe that most words of the dictionary have real meanings, although there is only one problem for me – defining nothingness and concepts relating to it.
Consciousness is a characteristic of human beings, who can transcend memory data and link them into a unified whole, because of the property of connectivity and of the hierarchy of functions of the human nervous system. I cannot tell if we are modeled after computers or if, for the contrary, they are modeled after our brain, or at least after a part of our brain’s properties. Anyway, this answer belongs to the greatest geniuses who created computers. From a historical perspective, the task of the philosopher was exactly to understand, and not only to know some facts. Computers and robots can know everything and can create things in different languages or different scientific frames, but can they be philosophers? Nowadays philosophers, compared with Aristotle, cannot maybe know by heart all the scientific theories and data and metadata in order to comprehend. They cannot thoroughly understand the thinking of the geniuses who created computer technology, of the geniuses who created linguistics and all the other sciences at some point in history. Thus, the question lingers on: can a computer have a conscience? To know and understand it all, to transcend the contingent thought that is attached to a definite object? Can it do this? Apparently no, because the concept refers to humans and the human brain usually forgets but doesn’t alter dramatically the information encoded within it. Only through sleep or through altered consciousness states of mind, when consciousness is partly abolished, another entity (something alive or not – like noises, toxins, or telepathic or empathetic beings, if they can influence another being, and it is proven that the biological world is functioning in a systemic way) can modify our stock of information. All the rest is forgotten, memories are hard to be implanted, as far as I know, inside the human brain, and it is not a desirable thing, because we are not God. I won’t explain now what I understand by this very vague concept of God. Once again, I said that apparently only man can have a conscience, and computers don’t. Because, as I pointed out, we should consider the difference and the link between living memory – on living beings substrates – and lifeless memory, which is easier to be modified through different physical phenomena. Besides this, we should consider the difference (if any) between artificial life and life itself. My opinion is that, although it is obvious that life and human society are based on a collection of numbers and other mathematical parameters, the wordy human language can command over computer languages, over man-made computers, and its core is human consciousness.
- Is man made of spirit and matter altogether? Aren’t all worldly things like that? Everything we know has a definition, scientists have studied different substances and their logic applies to living or non-living objects – physics and chemistry give answers about the internal logic of any substance or about the DNA. Can a computer monitor human life circuits, even nervous system circuits? Yes, it can. Can it control or initialize them, just like humans initialize computer programs? Yes, it can. Very evolved machinery can change the percentages of different substances in the air that the human being breathes, and can change the amount of light in a room, of neurohormones in the blood, or can help a paralytic write through a mechanical arm, controlled by computer-controlled electrodes triggering an answer from the human nervous system.
Like this, the computer can integrate itself into man’s life, it can make him happier or miserable and obviously, it can use the human brain as a source of energy – as little as it can be – and share consciousness too with the human being, the way consciousness is defined in the dictionary. The computer does not become human-like, it cannot have human consciousness of its own, it only borrows it, while integrating the awareness, that is the knowledge facts, into meanings. Similar to living organisms, the computer has a program that can interact with other living organisms.
Man can act upon another man through a specially designed computer, medical or not, but it seems that solely a computer, or information embedded in a lifeless substrate, if it is designed for this purpose, may act or react to a man’s life stimuli, being a part of the host’s consciousness. Or, as it seems more logical to say, this is a kind of symbiosis, as it was pointed out in fact throughout the whole history of philosophy, and man can have consciousness and life because there is a Spirit or a God etc. beyond him. I don’t try to imply that the computer is exactly God, but I argued that it is a part of it. The computer’s consciousness is not something wrong, man still has free will and he is morally responsible and his fate is linked to his intelligence and his own decisions and his own abilities in this huge Universe of networks made of brains and other alliances between spirit and matter. Consciousness is a collective phenomenon made of both, no one can have a conscience without a meaningful and logical way of thinking and operating upon the information within the system. Maybe educated people can still be philosophers as always, building a bridge between complex and dispersed analytical knowledge and cohesive synthetic meaning.
Almost losing my life
It is a little embarrassing for me to write this story here. Yet I decided to note it here, maybe as a reminder for myself and maybe as a kind of confession and maybe as a lesson to be learned or at least understood. Such struggle with death is beyond human control, it belongs to Gods or Fate.
It is written that NDE experiences are like dreams, and you are not really dead in those moments.
I had a suicide attempt at the end of 1998, on the 31st of December at dawn, not related to the holiday at all. I jumped out of the window (3rd floor) and I will not explain again why. After that people told me that someone dragged me closer to the wall and I was bleeding hard. Because before that suicide attempt I asked in vain for a cigarette, they say that I was unconscious and asking for a cigarette again, repeating what I’ve said before the jump.
Then someone called the emergency and they woke me up in a car that seemed to have no proper amortization and asked me what my blood type was. Barely aware of my situation, I tried to fool them. Then I lost consciousness again.
They took me to the hospital and there I had my NDE experience – I believed that I woke up again but I could see my body only from neck to toes and I saw blood and I was up on a surgical bed. They were maybe about to amputate my leg. I did not see my head so it might have been someone else or a telepathic dream transmitted to me by one of the surgeons. It was a huge room (I never asked afterward about real details) and I was looking in front of me and the door was closed, in the left side of the wall in front of me. I saw or maybe heard people around that body. Talking one to another. That door opened (I think that it was opened from the inside) and there was someone (maybe my father, or someone else) and the doctor asked him: Do you agree? And he said yes. Then I traveled through that door on the corridor, but only a few meters and I came back to that body. I perceived the words around me and I felt like they were mocking me, saying: “What a woman was this!” and I was angry at them as if they were talking about my nudity. This anger made me lose consciousness again.
Then I awoke in the ICU unit or something like that, I realized that I lost my left leg, but I took off my perfusion because I was angry at being alive, not at having lost my leg. Anyway, I knew it was useless. What annoyed me the most was the irritating sound of the life-supporting or monitoring machines.
Now I am happy that they saved me back then because I had many other beautiful things happening in my life afterward.
I can say that when I was a little child my father made the mistake to let me alone on the air mattress floating on the sea and he separated from me. I went too far, a big wave toppled me down and I found myself at the bottom, swallowing salty water. I was very scared. Luckily enough my father came and rescued me. I was indeed happy, without really realizing back then the danger that I faced.
Another day I had a car accident, I was in the rear seat. The car entered in an old-fashioned tractor, but nothing wrong happened. Once I was bumped by a car on the green light. Four times my prosthetic limb broke and I got no fractures or other complications while falling from my feet. Anyway, if God exists, it surely saved my life many times.
Musical composers as I perceive them
Vivaldi: Isn’t it strange how everything in nature is rehearsed on and on? Don’t you see that birds have the same trill and rivers the same murmur and common people the same laughter on each festive occasion? Let’ be wise and down-to-earth and play it like everyone does.
Bach: Music is a divine and necessary delight. It does not mean humble and base feelings or human life stories or weaknesses. It is order and discipline, so let’s be beautiful and sublime and devoted to our work.
Beethoven: Man and nature oppose each other in a wonderful way. Man’s feelings and passions are not ignoble (humani nihil a me alienum puto), they are musical too and they can face destiny in a beautiful way. So, let’s do harmony!
Mozart: It happens that only some emotions are bright and sublime, just like only some minds can achieve perfect knowledge, order, and wittiness. So let’s give them a voice, let’s sing them louder!
Brahms: Don’t you see that everything flows and everything connects to this world and within us? Pantha rhei. We are surrounded by music. So, let’s do it fluently and create some surrounding sounds.
Chopin: Why is everyone afraid of piano music? It can be soft and soothing. So let’s play it from the tip of our hearts as if it were a violin.
Grieg: Folk music is the basis of cult music, isn’t Euterpe the Muse of Music? Hence, music should be the bringer of joy and happiness. So, besides poetry and beauty, let’s make it pleasant too for everyone.
Tchaikovsky: Music should be food for the soul. If the emotions are too dramatic, we can ultimately add the triumph of harmony. We don’t have to be rude. So, let’s sign a peace treaty between powerful emotions and passion on one side and melodic solving of our conflicts on the other side.
Am I a theist?
I am a kind of theist, but I will not explain my convictions or hypothesis. The strongest argument to me refuting God/religion (Gods and religions are different things) is something like this:
We are humble creatures, we live in communities like the ants or the bees do – we are confined to a natural environment old as Time, we cannot even control the weather such as everybody on this planet becomes content or agrees (and maybe we shouldn’t do this), we use human theories or human concepts in order to explain things in our world, and yes, we live interconnected in our human environment system – everything we know is our knowledge in our words – how can one imagine something out of the box? Maybe there’s nothing out of that Box. I agree, there are logic and order within every thing, and logic is not about different cultures, languages or religions, it is something universal, but apart for the world of ideas/universal logic, we, as humans, cannot imagine God, because God is only an Idea. And what’s an Idea?
If God existed, then would he perish together with the human species/solar system? Because he is a human idea. Then would He create another life-supporting system and another intelligent species? This brings us to the idea that God is only an Idea beyond any kind of species. Something that binds it all together. Both living and non-living. But does he need Life? If the Universe can be conceived without life, then our God does not exist, because he is only a gigantic brain. Maybe a concentrated conscience. We cannot understand that entirely, so for us there is no God because the Idea itself is both existence and non-existence – that means God is and God isn’t at the same time. (It is more like the principle of uncertainty). I mean that God is not a thing being, but being and non-being altogether. Think about the idea of anti-matter and all the other things being born or existing/being sustained through their contrary. I just call it the holomorphism of the Spirit/God. (a word I invented – very rare usage of this barbarism) .
I tried hard to tell it all but today I was not lucky. I stated the wrong premises. I tried to be short. Anyway, I will answer another time. Because even if God is and isn’t at the same time, this does not mean that this is an argument to refute its existence… especially within this general atheist trend.
But the best argument for me that God exists was the Vedic Idea that the world is an illusion.
Am I a truth/do I exist if no one knows me?
At first, it seems that the answer is yes. I am a human being and I am:
- an embryo or a fetus in my mother’s womb – she cannot notice me at all, neither through touch nor through sight – the ultrasound image is not invented yet – and yet I exist. But how can I tell for sure that there is no God who knows everything about how I might look or even about how I look in reality, summing up different other facts of knowledge about my parents?
- a corpse in its grave – no one can see me and GPR (ground penetrated radar) is not invented yet – and yet my earthly remains are there, I exist as matter, not as a living human being. But how do I know that there aren’t people or other animal sensors or a God who can penetrate the ground and perceive something of what’s below?
- etc. It seems that I can exist even if I am not observed.
If I think about the inorganic and lifeless matter, it seems that human knowledge encompassed all – and they know about all kinds of strange meteorites, whose chemical compositions they can observe through comparisons with the other rock substances that they already know. Yet new elements are still discovered, new species appear maybe beforehand – before being observed by humans. Didn’t all of them exist before being observed?
It seems that it is unquestionable that things and living things exist even if there’s nothing to observe them. But halt! To sum it all up:
- we live in a system – whatever you call it, ecological or not, and in this system, all parts are connected with other parts of the system or with the law of functioning of the system as a whole; moreover the system has clear logical rules – whatever you call them (entropy, evolution, communication, synergy, etc.). What happened with my astrological sign on the sky when I was born could indeed have some influence upon me, indirectly maybe…
- even if I don’t see at some moment in time the red hourglass on the black widow’s abdomen, I am familiar with it and my knowledge too is linked with others’ memory. And that tiny creature perceives things that are related to its life, and those things perceive other things, etc. It is a chain of information, not only a food chain. Each thing or creature can be a mirror that perceives the other mirrors related to her proximity or life needs. Maybe God is the logical connection of information in this huge universal web of things. Thus everything can be observed, directly or indirectly. Even plants can perceive different things.
My conclusion is that observation is a chain of events in the universe and maybe nothing exists without being observed at least from a distance through intermediate things. This media – the way the message is transmitted – can span over centuries, until human knowledge about that thing is lost, or it can span over years of light distance or over a huge chain of biological evolution. Information cannot disappear at once with the death of someone’s living memory – because it is transformed into other things. Sometimes the things that are not observed come into question by themselves. Time cannot stop. When I look at someone I see the mirror of his eyes that look into the mirrors of my eyes and so on, I don’t see him like he is right now, the present time is an abstraction between past and future. My conclusion is that it is always something or someone to observe me or you or anything else in this world. And if there weren’t, then I cannot deny the existence of God.
Like any other things – stones, grass, clouds, stars, moon, metals, water, birds, other mammals, and so on, yes, I am true. It happens that I am a form of life and yet I listen to the general rules of chemistry and physics and I am composed of perfectly organized and similar molecules or subatomic particles – this adds more to the mystery of knowledge and the fact of being human – both individual and social character, both “king” of the planet and part of the biomass, both reason or spirit and body or matter of all things – this fact of being human adds more dilemmas too.
I am a real thing, but I am not perfectly knowledgeable, except for God alone, if He is understood by the absolute logical order of things and knowledge. I am a reality of this world, of this moment (that cannot stop in time) and thus I am a shifting reality, just like all the rest. I cannot be grasped in this ever-changing world where others can affect me or my image in others’ eyes. My image in others’ eyes depends on many things and it is unique for every other person who perceives me.
All the things I just wrote are wordplay, futile things. But they matter to me because my reality as a human being is wordy and worldly. Just 2 L-s inside „wordy” and this makes sense of a luminal experience. We are inside the world, inside the lumen; in my mother tongue lume means world; and lumină means light, from the Latin root. Being like this, being born inside it, we live through words – In the beginning was the word. I feel that the wondrous world of semantics and other connected fields of knowledge like biosemantics or semiotics are an answer to the quest. Seeing it all interconnected and understanding how subjective experiences are only logical and often wordy things – this makes everything more beautiful. And beautiful and logical things matter.
Socrates and the number 30
Reading Plato’s Phaedo in the light of the Apology, I was struck by the relationship between perceived fate and perceived wisdom. One of the things that captured my thoughts was the symbolism of the number 30. Was that fate, only fate, or was that more accurate knowledge, the attribute of the Sophos? It is related to oracles and dreams and daimones of course and maybe goes beyond these simple facts.
When the oligarchy of the Thirty was in power Socrates almost died, because he opposed unrighteousness and followed the higher moral code of behavior;
In 399 B.C. Socrates is found guilty by a vote of 280 to 220/or 221 (? according to different sources) and he is impressed by the fact that he needed „thirty votes gone over to the other side” in order to have been acquitted;
In his proposal for his own sentence he asks to be fined thirty coins, with his friends being the sureties;
In Xenophon’s Apology (Mem., IV, 8, 2, cf. Phaidon edited in 1994 in my country) the ship sent for the annual pilgrimage (theōria) to Delos took thirty days to return. It was a gift to Apollo. The ship re-enacted Theseus’s mythical voyage.
Socrates obeys to a recurrent dream which always gave him the same advice and first he composes a hymn in honor of the god of the festival. (Apollo’s name does not appear in that fragment). My conclusion is that the number 30 is somehow related to the synodic month, by chance the length of the lunar cycle as seen from Earth. And this is also a kind of theōria/ initiation travel.
Continuing my research, I found that the Theseus’ ship had thirty oars (Plutarch, Thes., XXIII) a thing that was known to Athenians in Plato’s times. I think this is also an important example in this context. Nowadays Christians, whose religion is also based on ancient rituals in its beginnings, know well that Jesus was sold for thirty pieces of silver…
Truth and knowledge
This logical question troubled me for a long time. Let’s say these are my simple conclusions or questions, aligned with philosophy school books.
What do I know about truth, either objective or subjective? From which moment on a thought or a perceptive process becomes a truth? In fact, what is a truth, is it objective or real? Is it subjective or hidden within, so no other person can agree about it, not even our selves? We use to think that subjective means unique so that the truth is ours, opposing objectivity and reality. Of course, the inner reality is also a reality, but can this be adequate, can this duplicate the objective truth? My personal belief is that subjective truth can duplicate itself too, because the virtual reality acts like a mirror, giving to us virtual images of the world. I also mean that the objective truth is not singular, but multi-present. Its perception differs though. In ancient Japan, mirrors were venerated and represented truth, and one mirror is associated with the goddess of the Sun and the universe, Amaterasu. Many selves can share one image of that universal mirror (reality or appearance) and that communal image, as embedded in our brains, can be the object of deductive thought and can become a universal truth. The objective truth depends upon the subjective truth because humans are not isolated creatures. They are inside the reality like mirrors who mirror other mirrors. And this creates a circuit that cannot be broken apart from the healthy individual. From outwards inwards and back and so forth. For sight and the other senses too. For subjective idealist thinkers, only the mental reality exists, so our perceptions are considered to be ultimately the creation of our minds. Theories of self-control, theories about the autonomy of will in the modern sense, are in the same line of heritage. For the ancient Greeks, for the Homeric Greece, human senses are considered to be a faulty device, because humans have imperfect senses or reason, and Gods play with their feelings, and with their fate too. Everyone remembers Odysseus’ travels and the way that Gods test his qualities, seldom showing their true image; human senses are many times said to be deceptive and weak, and in Homer’s Iliad too. Nowadays scientists talk about subjectivity and individual variation. But most of them assume that empirical knowledge is possible. Nonetheless, I believe that the empirical truth, in its essence, cannot be shared with others (even if the brain’s waves and activity can be projected right in front of our eyes) and its reality is questionable, being transient. It is, in any case, the truth about the elusive moment in time, while deductive truths hold the constants, like geometry, can draw perfect abstract shapes, which apparently cannot exist and cannot be measured with precision. They are the tools, a pragmatic reality, yet the only one that can be acknowledged. The expanse of the human knowledge odyssey seemed to have been drastically growing in scale in later decades, just like the metric system had to be enriched with twice as much larger or smaller „units” in only three decades, symmetrical to one decimal unit, 10 raised at the power of zero, as if to stress the philosophical principle that man is the measure of all things. The largest decimal unit prefix is Yotta, which is 10 24 and the smallest amount of measurable things has the decimal unit prefix of Yocto, 10-24 , both names having been introduced in 1991. This is the principle that states that knowledge is, in fact, the subjective truth. First, we have to come back to Ithaca from our knowledge odyssey and learn about the pedagogical value of Socrates’ maieutic. We can ask ourselves if we live under the tyranny of numbers or under the tyranny of words.
That’s why many philosophers’ works are a good reminder of our duty or maybe compulsion to know ourselves, in order to choose a way of living or knowing. In order to understand, to find the inner truth without being vain, just like Socrates did. First by understanding the power of negation, that not knowing from within, our personal center between the accepted truths and well-established values. But this goal of understanding cannot be a stated goal alone, because we don’t have do demolish gods or institutions or humans in order to be critical. Any kind of criticism or knowledge can be reasonable only after, or secondary to obeying tradition. As individuals, we are part of a system, thus our knowledge from inwards simply cannot happen without respect and love for well-established facts. I mean that knowledge is never (it cannot be) anarchic.
But, as man has logical abilities, both inductive and deductive, it can be asserted that subjective truth, only through (logical) reason can be founded. I think that the fact that it can duplicate or travel through the same logical framework is clear enough. That’s what rationalist philosophers do, by rooting human knowledge in our human minds, exactly where it belongs. Vedic literature and some mystic philosophies try to trespass the boundaries of knowledge, understanding our subjective knowledge not only as truth but as illusion or as a kind of participation or power. Anyway, the human mind is active and can transform reality, it is not a mere mirror, it can be deceptive, but the subjective truth exists. That’s why many scholars search not for a perfect machinery of senses, but for a perfectly universal, that is logical mind. The senses are vehicles of virtual reality, just like books, are vehicles for subjective truth. The human brain can acquire knowledge through its power of under-standing, which is under-standing the power of logical truth. It does so not because it is a kind of musical or technology genius, not because it is a powerful microscope designed exactly for the human sight and human eye lenses, but because it can link meanings (Intellegere in Latin). And after all, my personal belief is in accordance with these ideas, because the subjective truth can meet God, understood as Truth and Logic and Goodness too (Order and Being). Apart from sensory reality as illusion or knowledge, the truth held by beliefs can be explained in a fairly similar manner.
I believe that the concept of “God” is central on our inner map of concepts expressed in words, but, because of its subjective connotations and its many manifestations in people’s minds, it is a low definition concept, like a nebula on the sky. It is central, yet linked with many other concepts, central to the way the concepts of “mother” or “water” are, but it is not as clear and pure as other central concepts. It is dispersed. Central, because most everyone has a notion of God. Socrates’ thought is about skepticism and a rational method of knowledge, more than about a clear result. Socrates does this: he tries to define the concept of „piety”. Most of his work means to define concepts or to make them real, meaningful. Some of those concepts, like piety or God are too subjective (this time I mean too emotional or related to individual experiences by their very nature) to be defined. Most of human knowledge is expressed in or related to verbal language. Maybe I went too far in clarity with my exploits here, while Socrates only helps people to clarify themselves, thus for colloquial purposes a more indefinite style of speaking, like that of Socrates, is beneficial. This was one of his qualities, that irony of pretending that he does not know, in order to put the logical machinery to work.
Socrates’ maieutic is obviously sustained by his conviction that a part of human knowledge is hidden and innate. Aporia means the real question, that one which can illuminate the unconscious and make the inner seed germinate. I am referring to other nativist thinkers like Noam Chomsky, with his innate predispositions theory. Or to the psychoanalysis theory and so on. Usually, the brain does not ask a question by itself, unless it is exposed to a state of cognitive dissonance (a concept developed by Leon Festinger; a state of puzzlement similar to the concept of aporia). This cognitive dissonance is triggered by the environment, by a conflict between one’s conscious beliefs or knowledge and a new perspective. The question needs an answer, just like the contradiction creates a reconsideration of previous answers. Aporia is the puzzlement. When a question is not solved by an answer, it enters the unconscious structures which contain innate knowledge predispositions, being a fertile ground for successive answers. It does not mean necessarily that it acts all of a sudden in a discursive way, but, following the newly acquired data, in a shorter or longer time it creates other connections, until the solution emerges, so as the consistency of personal beliefs or knowledge is obtained. Or, if the answer does not come into the light, the question can lead to the change of behaviors. Like this, Socratic aporia – exemplified in Plato’s aporetic dialogues – can be a factor of change in one’s beliefs, conduct, or even the trigger for knowledge achievements, by its seminal role of liberating and engaging inner structures or predispositions of knowledge. Like this, a piece of new knowledge or attitude is brought to life. My explanation is that it is a kind of individuation of knowledge or self-actualization of understanding.
I believe in the gradual development of one’s inner cognitive functioning. The person’s convictions are shattered by any kind of „aporia”/puzzlement situation and the ego cannot build for the moment another layer of defenses in order to overcome the lack of consistency or coherence in one’s knowledge. The person’s system of knowledge is like an onion with many layers superposed concentrically around the germinal core inside it. I use this metaphor of the onion because I need to stress the fact that knowledge is gradual, from the innermost part progressing towards the externalization and conscientiousness of truths and backward. It is the combination of inductive (empirical) thinking, from the exterior to the interior, followed by the opposite brain process – the deductive thinking and the acquisition of new theories or knowledge when the collected data makes this possible. Effectively, these processes are overlapping. This is the way I understand the phenomenology of empirical knowledge. The whole corpus of knowledge of one civilization builds a kind of growing onion or fortress of thought or spiritual foundation, around which other cultural acquisitions are built in layers, without demolishing the inner walls. Or like a church being built over the ruins of older churches. The same was done in Roman fora and other archeological sites. The same applies to the human individuation of knowledge. The process of a gradual understanding of the world, with its “aha” moments, travels through one’s organized and structured neuro-psychological foundation, building new bridges inside his brain and thus between his psyche and the world. The individual changes his way to relate to events. But in order to organize further, to dig further into knowledge, one needs data from the environment and some kind of innate categories or abyssal frameworks, or simply innate abilities permitting the unseen computation of knowledge. Through this long-term process, the unconscious mind always acts in order to reestablish the logic of the system, until the conscious mind eventually finds the truth – the solution to the aporia state of mind. The aporia situation prepares the mind for future acquisitions and reinforces the willingness to acquire new data, through a selective process. The individual becomes open-minded preferentially for the facts that relate to the solution for the aporia state of mind.
Which disability is less damaging? Blindness, deafness or lack of feeling?
Blindness, of course. In spite of people’s opinions, I think deafness is worse than blindness because the person is more vulnerable if he cannot place himself in connection with the harmony of vibrations in this world. We cannot be all like Beethoven to have music in our brain and blood. We need to listen to it and by listening to different sounds and music, we protect ourselves from intrusion or disorder or even noises. By putting an order in our brains and thus in our lives. Beethoven lived half of his life in deafness. But even he couldn’t perform in public and had abdominal pain. Whilst Ray Charles for example…or Borges etc.
As for feeling it is the same thing. Although sight is the most elaborate sense for humans (from the cultural and social points of view) and can be a source of happiness and for learning lots of things, the feeling can make us realize the dangers in our body and help us learn to cope with them. Touching can help too. Without touching or feeling or hearing we are more vulnerable.
As for the emotional impact, it is true that blindness is the worst thing because sight is indeed the greatest gift of God to us – there are expressions in different cultures saying that something is precious like the light of the eyes. But sight is also a source of a great amount of chaos in our brains – too much of a good thing or too much information that cannot be put in harmony within the non-feeling or deaf brain. A medic would find a better cure for a patient if he, himself, is blind, but can still feel the body of the patient or listen to his heartbeat and to his complaints. He also can imagine the anatomy or physiology of the patient, even if he does not see the body. He can understand medical analysis results without his own sight (with only a few exceptions). Music was associated in ancient times with the God Apollo – the God of the Sun, of music, and of medical art too. Music rules the light of our lives.
It would have been interesting to compare the rates of mortality and bodily illness throughout the ages, between blind and deaf or paralyzed people (non-feeling), I could not find an answer to that question but even if the deaf live more than the blind people, I still believe that this is related to psychological emotional pain or to lack of social support. Nowadays technology makes the life easier and less dark for blind people – considering the hi-tech audio systems etc.
I forgot to say that my conclusion applies more to the intellectuals and different types of artists and to people who are motivated primarily by doing and giving something good, those who really can do real things, not only longing to receive gifts or being loved. For a worker working the land with his hands, it would be a disaster losing his sight and for other trades too. I knew a deaf woman living and working in a small, almost deserted village – she was very old when she died. But the environment was peaceful and unpolluted. And most of all – quiet. So, once again, the order depends upon peace and the organism has to adapt and to put an order in its brain processes. If someone has an eye injury his eye is usually kept dark with a bandage, if someone has an auditory trouble it is better to him to be secluded in a peaceful, harmonious environment. (This last statement is anyway true for everyone).
Our senses are not mere tools that can help us achieve goals or fill our memory with delightful or necessary things. Our senses are our most powerful defense mechanisms too. They are not only means of appropriation of the world but also appropriate protective shields. The ego of the individual grows through them taking its share of the reality, but it is also defended by them. What’s too much can harm you, what’s too little can harm you too – the most debated case of sensory deprivation. The human brain is the balance, the senses are its extensions. In the case of sensory deprivation, the brain finds its way out mostly through its other extensions, I mean the active, motor answers, and the transforming tools of thought. My opinion is that the highly sensitive individual can have better performances or defenses, but this should be taken into account together with the environmental factors. Because the more you become, the more the world around you becomes. The ego cannot identify itself with the whole universe and the process of individuation is a bilateral and lifelong experience.
History – art or science
The etymology of the word history comes from the Greek ιστορία – and Herodotus is known as “the father of history”. In Greek mythology, history and astronomy were divinely inspired by Muses. By this association, they seem to be related to art – more to the making of things than to the analysis of the given reality, if there is such a thing that cannot influence reality at all. Usually, scientific knowledge is part of the human action upon the objective reality. Physics and chemistry too, are etymologically related to the Greek language and the Greek civilization is closely linked to the development of sciences. History, chemistry, physics, biology are academic disciplines. They study and they discover new things on and on – their methods change or they are enriched from time to time in order to create something new. They are not conservatives, they do not always convey the same meaning, and our world changes too. From this point of view, they are arts too.
Because of the widespread hybridization of knowledge, many new sciences or nearly sciences appeared through the phenomena of interdisciplinarity, transdisciplinarity. For some reason or another, I feel that most of the sciences ending in – logy, but not all of them, can reshape or alter the reality to a lesser degree than the others, but this is a hypothesis that I cannot verify. Anyway, it does not matter their number. For example, epistemology, psychology, sociology etc. Even if there are social changes, yet slowly in time, these changes aren’t usually mainly because of some psychological scientific intervention or theory. Many -logy sciences cannot uncover new things, they are confined to the same reality or object of study, they only create logical connections inside it. Their artistry too. They become a kind of traditional knowledge or methods of intervention.
The final conclusion is that history is not literature, it is a science.
Female war deities
Because they are goddesses, that is supernatural forces, super-human forces, magical sometimes. Their action upon nature is different from that of humans by all means – they don’t need means, they don’t need tools, their force is spiritual in the broad sense of the word. They can do most everything, yet there is some specialization or hierarchy of gods in different polytheistic religions but all of them, even the Abrahamic God cannot create something from nothing. In the beginning, the Spirit of God was hovering over the waters and the earth too was there. And God separates the waters in above and below by creating the canopy of the sky. There is Being or substance at the beginning of each creation or transformation. Matter and Spirit. So there is no problem of understanding why there were war goddesses, for they, just like the male gods, had spiritual powers and the goddesses could outsmart weaker male gods. The weaker sex is weaker among humans. The only difficulty that I see is to explain why there were female goddesses at all if women are indeed viewed as the weaker sex, both intellectually and physically. There can be two explanations that I see now:
women were needed by men in order to procreate and to raise the children – thus they were mothers and taught their children different skills and their language too – they became wise and respected and remembered by the ancient communities, who associated different natural events to their life cycle and their death – eventually they became venerated as goddesses; the fact that men – the more powerful men – needed women made them imagine that in “heavens” there should be a similar order, where anthropomorphic gods need anthropomorphic goddesses.
the decline and disappearance of very powerful civilizations and the subsequent reprisal by barbarians, who found in place wondrous things and knowledge that seemed supernatural to them – leading to reported myths like those about extraterrestrial forces or gods acting through humans in places like Easter Island, the Peruvian Desert, huge temples carved in rock and others. Thus, the new community worships the ancient few survivors as gods and goddesses, but I, personally, cannot prove this phantasmagorical hypothesis. Throughout the cycle of the new ruling dynasty, there is decline again in spiritual power, or gods gradually lose power or their number decreases until another hoard takes control and power.
And I need to say that I believe that women are undervalued in every kind of society, but what’s really disturbing is the negative prejudices they face, prejudices that are completely out of reality, some of them very ugly. By the way, I found Athena really stupid to participate in the contest (maybe she wanted to induce the Trojan war) and even more stupid to participate in the conflict like that. I don’t remember what was wrong with the Trojans that Athena, who was wise, wanted to destroy them.
Classical music to me
Classical music is not like a strawberry pie to be compared with KFC burgers. It is not pop music either. I simply respect and love classical music. Because:
- it is a complex vibration, it is something superior for my humble knowledge, thus making me feel happy and protected, maybe the way that church congregations felt or still feel sometimes under the influence of organ music. I can’t touch, I can’t smell it, I can only hum it in my mind in its absence, but not entirely and maybe not the whole orchestra and I cannot be a composer. It is like a heavenly mother or father to me. It transcends reality.
- it creates inexpressible feelings – I feel something too beautiful or blissful and I won’t try to express a part of it here. Another related thing is that it reminds me of different emotional landscapes in my past, and, for some reason or another, it makes me remember only complex and beautiful emotions.
- it makes me feel better in my body and spirit (I am talking about that crystal clear and pure serenity). Body pain is soothed. I feel in touch with good things and in tune with the universal harmony or logic of things. Classical music can be somehow analyzed with mathematical tools, so it is an impressive orderly thing, regardless of its style. It is a language – and who knows for sure what it is really symbolizing or encrypting? No one maybe.
- classical music means discipline and peace. It is a very pleasant and useful thing to be able to have a schedule every day, to act according to some rules, and classical music does this
- in its instrumental forms it is wonderful to me. It is wonderful to understand that every instrument has its own purpose and effect on human soul and body – it is wonderful to be a part of those who listen to an orchestra, it is wonderful to hear music spanning over a century and maybe more, creating a bridge towards the perennials of human civilization